Friday, April 17, 2009

How To Choose Barware and Glassware

Barware and Tools

Having the right tools on hand can improve your bartending experience drastically. There is nothing worse than dragging out a great bottle of vino to find that you don't have a corkscrew or the one you do have is broken. Some old fashioned barware is just not needed much anymore, such as the old beer bottle opener you just couldn't live without. I remember even having one in my car... back in the days when you could drive with a beer bottle, as long as you were driving ok, no one bothered you. That was before all these crazies started getting bombed out of their gourds and drag racing. Too many people have died so I do not advocate drinking in your car, driving while drinking or having any bottle openers in the glove.

Long Handled Bar Spoon- You need this to stir tall glasses full of mixed drinks
Can / Bottle Opener- An old must have that you may not need anymore; but not all cans are pull tops
Champagne Bucket- A real treat for the bartender who wants to set it out and not have to run back and forth to the fridge all night
Cocktail Napkins- In this greener, more conservative age, you might want to just stick with regular napkins. They're enough.
Corkscrew- An absolute necessity, even if you don't drink Wine
Covered Cocktail Shaker- Another must have. You just can't make blended drinks right without one. Great for Martinis.
Cutting Board- Use the one from the kitchen. You will need it for the garnishes.
Electric Blender- A must have if you are inviting women.
Ice Bucket and Tongs- A lovely luxury item that you will quickly fall in love with. Handy.
Ice Scoop- OK. If you want to get all fancy and Richie Rich, this is one item that will help that image.
Juice Extractor- Not a must have but makes squeezing the Citrus easier. Of course, you can always just buy juice.
Lemon / Lime Squeezer- Another luxury item that makes you look fancy. If you are serving A LOT of drinks, it does make it easier.
Martini Pitcher- Another luxury item that gives a great image. Do you have friends who like Martinis?
Shot Glasses / Jiggers- These are must haves. Buy the ones with artwork and get them from thrift stores or on eBay.
Measuring Cup- Goes without saying and just use the one you already have.
Measuring Spoons- Ditto.
Mixing Pitcher- Another lovely luxury item that makes your bar look fancy. Can be useful.
Wooden Muddler- This is not a must have. It's up to you.
Paring Knife- This item can sometimes be a necessity. Use the one you already have when you need it.
Picks- Great for garnishes. Use toothpicks.
Punch Bowl and matching Glasses- This is a lovely item at any bar, but do you need it? Do you throw big parties?
Saucers- Keep several at the bar. Handy for dipping glasses into salt or sugar to coat the rim.
Seltzer Bottle- Used to be a must have. Now, you can just get bottled seltzer.
A Shaker Set with Mixing Glass and Metal Tumbler- The classic bartender tool. A must have.
Speed Pourers- These are necessities in bars and nightclubs... and you might want them, too. Not expensive.
Strainer- Cheap and easy to obtain. Keep it at the bar for citrus and blended drinks.
Straws- Optional but nice.
Swizzle Sticks- Hey, these are cool. You should have a bunch on hand. Makes your bar look classy.
Bar Towels- Another luxury item that can upscale your bar. They aren't expensive if you buy used or ordinary ones. Of course, you can personalize your entire bar by buying special towels or having some made to suit your taste.

Glassware and Drinking Vessels

There is a long tradition in bartending and drink making that assigns certain glassware to certain drinks. For instance, you wouldn't drink Beer out of a Martini glass and you wouldn't drink a Martini in a Mug.

Balloon- A large Wine glass that measures from 9 to 14 ounces.
Beer Goblet- A long stemmed Goblet that holds up to 12 ounces.
Beer Mug- Any Mug that holds from 12 to 16 ounces.
Brandy Snifter- Looks like a large or fancy shot glass. Made just for drinking Brandy straight up.
Champagne Flute- A long stemmed and long, thin glass made to hold up to 6 oz of Champagne.
Champagne Saucer- A wider flute that allows bubbles to escape more readily and holds about 4 oz.
Champagne Tulip- A shapely flute that looks something like a Tulip. Holds up to 6 oz.
Cocktail Glass- A small, simple glass for drinking alcohol neat or straight up. Short and wide. Up to 6 oz.
Collins Glass- Long, thin glasses without stems. Often frosted. Holds up 14 ounces; used for mixed drinks.
Double Rocks- For larger drinks, served "on the rocks"; holds up to 16 ounces.
Goblet- Standard shapely goblet. Holds up to 12 oz; used for blended or frozen drinks.
Highball- Similar to the Collins glass but shorter and wider. Great for mixed drinks to 12 oz.
Hot Drink Mug- Think Coffee Cup. For hot and / or creamy drinks.
Hurricane- Very large shapely Goblet. Short stemmed with a wide base. Holds up to 22 oz.
Martini Glass- A long stemmed glass with a v-shaped, flauted or circular cupola. Standard 4 ounces but can be larger.
Parfait- A specialty type glass that is often used to serve fancy desserts. Used for ice cream drinks.
Pilsner- A tall, thin glass used to serve fancy Lagers and Ales.
Pony Glass or Cordial- Tiny glass that looks like a shot glass. Used to serve liqueurs and shooters.
Pousse-Cafe- A fancy glass that with a wide mouth for drinks that are "floated".
Red Wine Glass- A very rounded Wine glass, long stemmed, that holds up to 11 oz.
Rocks Glass- Can be stemmed or not. Holds up to 8 oz. For serving neat liquor or shots, on the rocks.
Sherry- Similar to a "copita". Small glass holds 3 oz and is used to serve cordials.
Shot Glass- No larger than 2 oz. Also called a "jigger". Used to serve "shots" or shooters.
Sour- Commonly called a "delmonico". Used for Whiskey Sours and other sour drinks. Holds 6 oz.
White Wine Glass- Smaller, thinner version of the Red Wine Glass. Long stemmed. Holds 11 oz.

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